The JSC says it is studying the SCA judgment – first reported in Legalbrief Today last week – which linked the Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe to a ‘reasonable apprehension’ of bias when ruling in favour of his personal lawyer in a multi-million lawsuit.

The National Director of Public Prosecution and Old Mutual had complained after Hlophe failed to recuse himself in a multi-million lawsuit in which his attorney Barnabas Xulu had represented Pretoria businessman Mathews Mulaudzi, who was the defendant.

Mulaudzi is accused of defrauding Old Mutual of R48m. According to a Cape Times report, Old Mutual welcomed the ruling that Hlophe had misdirected himself in finding that there were no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution in the matter.

Old Mutual spokesperson Vuyo Lee said: ‘Old Mutual welcomes the unanimous decision of the SCA, including the acceptance by the SCA justices of the reasonableness of its apprehension that when Judge President Hlophe dealt with the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) matter in the Western Cape High Court, he was conflicted by his relationship with his personal attorney Barnabas Xulu, who was Mr Mulaudzi’s attorney of record.’

Full Cape Times report (subscription needed)